Air Products has dedicated a new pipeline safety training facility located in La Porte, Texas which will allow for the hands-on training of its pipeline technicians who regularly install, inspect and maintain the company’s pipeline operations around the world. 

The training facility is strategically located in the United States Gulf Coast, as Air Products has substantial pipeline operations in the region, including the world’s largest hydrogen plant and pipeline network system .

“Safety is and has always been a core value at Air Products.  This training facility reinforces Air Products’ dedication to safety for our employees that work on our pipelines and for the communities near where we operate them.  There are approximately 60 tasks performed at specific times on our pipelines, with most requiring hands-on training.  This facility will allow our global pipeline technicians to receive necessary training, and to do so in a safe manner without having to use active pipelines serving customers,” said Richard Boocock, vice president, Global Operations at Air Products.

The facility has a sampling of all the required tasks a pipeline technician would encounter in the pipeline environment such as: a customer industrial gas delivery and meter station; cathodic protection, including buried anodes and a test station; buried pipeline probing and foreign pipeline crossing; a pipeline coating station and associated welding, brazing and ultrasonic testing, among other pipeline training features.  The facility also includes working with automatic shut-off valves (ASV), which is an additional Air Products preventative measure installed on most of its pipelines around the world.  In the event of a pipeline disruption, the ASVs can be turned off to isolate certain segments of pipeline needing attention.  The training facility uses compressed air for industrial gas simulation.

The new Air Products pipeline training facility is being dedicated to Thomas D. Fritsche, a 36-year company employee and pipeline specialist who initiated the concept. “Tom felt very strongly about this facility.  It is a process improvement because it significantly lessens risk to in-service pipelines by qualifying and evaluating pipeline technicians in a staged, controlled area. It also greatly decreases potential damage, no matter how remote, to a live pipeline, facility, or disruption in product supply to customers,” said Andy Gutacker, Gulf Coast pipeline manager at Air Products.

Globally, Air Products’ pipeline operational expertise is evidenced by the over 40 year safe operation of its network of systems.  Pipelines offer a safe, robust and reliable supply of industrial gases to a variety of industries around the world.  Air Products’ industrial pipelines typically transport gases including oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and water/steam.